Thinking about remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? Among the materials you will most likely have to buy for these spaces are wall and floor tiles. If you already started searching you must be overwhelmed by the great diversity of options, shapes, colours and textures. You want to make sure you make the right choice to have a wonderful looking space that you will enjoy for some time without needing to remodel again. If you are a conscious consumer like me you will also want to make sure you choose a product that is eco-friendly and promotes a healthy environment for your family. But can you have the best of both worlds? Tiles that are absolutely beautiful and also eco-friendly? Well yes, you can and I will explain what to check for when choosing them.
Consider if the tiles you are looking at are composed of recycled materials. If so, what is the percentage? Tiles with high recycled content help avoid that precious virgin materials are extracted from nature while repurposing precious used materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill. An example of tiles with high recycled content includes terrazzo tiles which are composed mainly of pre-consumer recycled waste from scraps of the stone/marble industry. Another example is glass tiles made from discarded glass bottles. Alternatively you can also look for reclaimed tiles that in practice would be equivalent 100% recycled content.
Check if tiles are composed of renewable materials. This means that although new materials are being extracted from nature they can easily be replenished so the impact of using these materials will be very low. Bamboo tiles for example look beautiful in the bathroom and as bamboo grows at an incredible speed it is considered one of the most sustainable materials. Be careful though and check that the bamboo tiles do not contain any formaldehyde as this is a toxic chemical.
Some materials can be composed of nasty chemicals that are used as binders/adhesives in the production or assembly of the tiles. Ceramic tiles are mineral products so by their nature would not contain any VOCs. However, some tiles made with artificial materials may do. Check that the tiles and adhesives you choose do not contain any VOCs or other toxic chemicals, as that can be unhealthy for your family.
Energy used in manufacture
Another aspect of eco-friendly tiles is the low amount of energy used in their production. Some tiles can be cured rather than fired such as hydraulic or encaustic tiles. These are normally made of different colours of clay or cement and produced by hand using a mold and a hydraulic press.
Green business practices
Check that the manufacturers use sustainable business practices such as delivering carbon free or using electric vehicles that will not pollute the air we breathe. Some of them will use only energy from renewables in their manufacturing process and recycle and responsibly dispose all their waste.
Choosing tiles to redecorate your home is not an easy task. There are too many options to choose from and if you want to buy eco-friendly products you do have to read the small print and check for the characteristics we have mentioned above. Fortunately you will find that the manufacturers with the best credentials will be very transparent about the characteristics of their products and will be more than willing to provide clear information on their product labels and advertise their eco credentials. If it is too difficult to find such information on any given product you must assume that it has none. Use our tips above on your journey to create a healthy and sustainable home and Green It Yourself…Now!
Have you recently redecorated your home using eco-friendly tiles? Share your photos below! Want to know more or share your experience? Please leave a comment below!